The passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 represented not the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement, but the beginning of a new, crucial chapter. Nowhere was this next battle better epitomized than in Lowndes County, Alabama, a rural, impoverished town with a vicious history of racist terrorism. In a town that was eighty percent Black but had zero Black voters, laws were just paper without power.
This isn’t a story of hope but of action. Through first person accounts and searing archival footage, LOWNDES COUNTY AND THE ROAD TO BLACK POWER tells the story of the local movement and young Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizers who fought not just for voting rights, but for Black Power in Lowndes County.
Geeta Gandbhir is an award-winning director, producer and editor with over twenty-five years of experience in the film industry. She started her career in narrative film under Spike Lee and Sam Pollard. After working for 11 years in the edit room in scripted film, with filmmakers including Merchant Ivory, the Coen Brothers, Robert Altman, she branched into documentary film.
As director, her most recent film, LOWNDES COUNTY AND THE ROAD TO BLACK POWER will premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. She also recently directed and show-ran a four-part series for HBO titled Black and Missing, which is currently airing on HBO and won a 2022 NAACP Award for Best Directing, a 2022 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Series and a 2022 ATAS Honors Award. She also recently directed Apart, with Rudy Valdez for HBOMax which was nominated for an NAACP Award. Her 2020 short film with Topic Studios, Call Center Blues, was shortlisted for a 2021 Academy Award®, and she directed an episode of the five-part series of the Asian Americans for PBS, which won the 2021 Peabody Award. Other projects include directing the six-part series Why We Hate for Jigsaw Productions and Amblin Entertainment for Discovery, the feature documentary I Am Evidence for HBO which won a 2019 Emmy, DuPont and ATAS Award, and the film Armed with Faith for PBS which won a 2019 News and Documentary Emmy. In 2017 she directed an episode of the Netflix series The Rapture featuring rap artist Rapsody. In 2016 her feature documentary, Prison Dogs, which she co-directed with Perri Peltz, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and her film A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival and later aired on PBS as part of the series Women, War and Peace. She also co-directed and co-produced the series A Conversation on Race series with The New York Times Op-Docs, which won an Online Journalism Award for Online Commentary, an AFI Documentary Film Festival Audience Award for Best Short and garnered a MacArthur Grant. She was also a co-producer on the HBO film The Sentence, directed by Rudy Valdez which won a 2019 Emmy. As an editor, her films have won one Academy Award®, two Emmy Awards and five Peabody awards.
Sam Pollard is an accomplished feature film and television video editor, and documentary producer/director. Between 1990 and 2010, Mr. Pollard edited a number of Spike Lee’s films: MO’ BETTER BLUES, JUNGLE FEVER, GIRL 6, CLOCKERS, and BAMBOOZLED. Mr. Pollard and Mr. Lee co-produced a number of documentary productions for the small and big screen: FOUR LITTLE GIRLS, a feature-length documentary about the 1963 Birmingham church bombings which was nominated for an Academy Award and WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE, a four part documentary that won numerous awards, including a Peabody and three Emmy Awards. Five years later 2010 he co-produced and supervised the edit on the follow up to LEVEES, IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE.
Since 2012 Mr. Pollard has completed as a producer/director SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME, a 90-minute documentary for PBS that was in competition at the Sundance Festival; AUGUST WILSON: THE GROUND ON WHICH I STAND, a 90-minute documentary in 2015 for American Masters; TWO TRAINS RUNNIN’, a feature length documentary in 2016 that premiered at the Full Frame Film Festival. SAMMY DAVIS JR., I’VE GOTTA BE ME for American Masters premièred at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. In 2019 Mr. Pollard co-directed the Six Part Series WHY WE HATE that premiered on The Discovery Channel. In 2020 he was one of the directors on the 2020 HBO Series ATLANTA’S MISSING AND MURDERED: THE LOST CHILDREN. Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children. He also completed in 2020 MLK/FBI that premiered at the 2020 Toronto Film Festival and New York Film Festival.